The Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) has described 39 members staff of the council nationwide as grossly inadequate for optimal regulation of veterinary services in the country.
Dr Ezenwa Nwakonobi, Ag. Registrar of the council said this at the unveiling of VCN signage constructed by five NYSC Corps members of 2020, Batch B on Tuesday, in Abuja.
The corps members are Dr. Comfort Ndor, Dr. Faith Kaka, Dr Mustapha Umar, Dr.Fatima Saidu and Dr. Amarachi Ezeocha.
Nwakonobi identified inadequate human capacity both veterinary officers and support staff as a huge challenge and impediment to the council to effectively carry out its mandates as a regulatory body.
According to him, the council as an agency of the government has the mandate to regulate the practice and set standard for training of would-be veterinarians.
He said that the council also had the ability to regulate the practice of veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals assisting the veterinary doctors.
The acting registrar who further said that ”the council regulates veterinary practice premises stressed that it is illegal to set up veterinary practice without being registered with the council and meeting up minimum set standard.
He expressed concern that the dearth of manpower had led to overstretching of the few hands available.
The acting registrar, who commended the effort of the council’s governing board in ensuring VCN is bequeathed with adequate manpower, however, called on prompt attention of the government to address the lingering challenge.
“We lack human capacity in the council mostly in the technical cadre of veterinary officers likewise the support staff. We are calling on government to attend to our request.
“Specifically, we appeal to the government at the level of Head of Service of the Federation, Federal Character Commission, Civil Service Commission as well as National Salaries Income and Wages Commission to address our request and need.
“This is the only way we can optimally perform our roles as a regulatory agency,’’ Nwakonobi said.
He said that the essence of the signage constructed by the corps members was for visibility and easier location of the council building both day and night.
He described visibility as key to any organisation, adding that no matter the quality and nature of work performed by an organisation without visibility such organisation would not receive due recognition.
AIG Aishatu Abubakar-Baju, President, Governing Board of VCN, described the gesture by the corps members as one of the commitment of the council to ensure total rebranding of the council.
Abubakar-Baju represented by Dr Bala Muhammed, Vice-President of the board said VCN is in the process of restructuring for greater productivity, both the staff and its operations.
“Considering its mandate in regulating the practice and practitioners of veterinary medicine in the country, the VCN is strategic to the development of agriculture as a non-oil revenue generator.
“The major thing about rebranding is to raise hopes and visibility of our activities through face lift of physical structures and monument that speaks of who we are as veterinarians.
“The signage project donated to the veterinary council of Nigeria is in line with renewed vigor to reposition the `VCN brand’ for greater efficiency,’’ she said.
Abubakar-Baju said that the batch of corps members have raised the bar by donating the signage to contribute their quota to the restructuring of VCN.
“We, therefore, commend them for this laudable initiative and urged everyone to make positive impact with positive legacy wherever they find their selves.
“This is a celebration of hard work and efficiency. Being the first set of corps members posted to the council, this standard is a foundation for others coming to build on,’’ she said.
Dr Comfort Ndor, one of the executor of the project, described it as one of her best years in life as service in the council.
Ndor who identified the motto of NYSC as Service to Humanity said the initiative was born out of the goal.
According to her, they were able to actualise this dream through the support of the council staff.
“When l was posted to the council in January 2021 we identified the council with a very small sign board. We identified what we can do for the council in accordance with our motto.
“We identified a lot of things that needed to be fixed in the council.
“We wanted something of standard within our budget and decided to erect the sign post to clear mark the VCN edifice in Maitama,’’ she said